Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes a formal apology in the House of Commons for the Komagata Maru incident that occurred in 1914. To mark this historic event, the UFV Library is displaying books on the topic of the Komagata Maru, the Sikhs in Canada as well as the history of discrimination in Canada.
Challenging the discriminatory immigration rules of the time, the passengers of the Komagata Maru, themselves British subjects, departed Hong Kong on April 4, 1914, made stops in Shanghai and Japan, and then sailed towards Vancouver.
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The passengers were met by immigration officers who outright refused them entry into Canada. After languishing for two months in the harbor, during which time the ship and its passengers became the object of racist newspaper coverage and spectacle, the ship was ordered out of Canadian waters and on July 28, 1914, under a gun threat of the HMCS Rainbow, the Komagata Maru was escorted out to sea and returned to Calcutta. On its return to India, 20 of the passengers were shot dead by the British army during a riot that ensued.
Click here to see Dr. Renisa Mawani, Associate Professor of Sociology at UBC, analysis of the formal apology by Prime Minister Trudeau.
UFV's Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies
Posted by Mary-Anne MacDougall